Due to novel and increased demands on businesses in ever-changing competitive environments, working virtually through information and communications technologies (ICTs) are becoming increasingly popular. Virtual working is not somewhat glorified because the advantages of the ‘networked organisation’ are not genuine, but because the limitations of interacting through ICTs are to some degree understated in the popular literature. Concurrently, creativity is increasingly acknowledged as an essential organisational competence and the nature of ‘tacit’ interactions are becoming understood. There are competitive advantages in enabling better interactions. Yet, how is working remotely distressing the effectiveness of creative and tacit communication?
An exploratory approach is chosen within a multi-method study that includes unstructured interviews, observations, action research and online discussion.
The value of this paper lies in the humble insights that are generalised into theory regarding how managers of small IT businesses can manage virtual teamwork in a more informed and conscious way.
The findings indicate that cheap and basic ICTs are not particularly effective to share and develop creative and tacit communication. Initial and regular face-to-face interactions are key to building and maintaining a shared vision, culture, context and trust, found to be vital for the success of the examined small IT businesses in London.
Virtual teams, virtual environments, creativity, tacit communication, information and communications technology, information technology industry, small businesses.